Friday, November 5, 2010

A Week To Remember

Last week was definitely one to remember. It all started with the news about my brother in law and his declining health. Then I heard about a friend who died suddenly of a heart attack. I was very saddened by this news. I had so many fond memories of this friend when we were growing up. He was funny and charming and had a great outlook on life. I hadn’t seen him for many years but I still felt terrible when I got the call that he had passed away. Another reminder of how precarious life can be.

That all happened by Monday and on Tuesday, October 26th, I had an ultrasound scheduled. My gynecologist had recommended that I have one done because I have uterine fibroids and I take Tamoxifen. Somewhere in the back of my mind I thought about the fact that this same date three years ago I had my mastectomy. I tried not to be superstitious so I kept the appointment and didn’t think too much about it. In fact, I really wasn’t worried. My health has been good lately and I feel strong.

So I went to my appointment and had the ultrasound done. While I was lying on the table and the technician was moving the probe over my belly, I noticed her eyebrows rise a bit. Those of you who have had these scans have probably seen the look. I watched her continue to measure and check. When she was finished she said, “That fibroid is really big. I need to check and make sure it isn’t blocking your kidneys.” I was floored. How big was it? What did this mean? I walked out of the office and I was extremely shaken. I got in my car and I immediately called my husband.

“I have a huge tumor in my uterus. I can’t take it. I can’t handle any more cancer.” By this time I was in tears. “I can’t believe this. Maybe it is nothing but I won’t know until the doctor calls me back tomorrow.”

“Do you want me to come home? I can come and get you.”

“I don’t know. I am just so upset. I can’t take this.”

I drove home and finally stopped crying. I called Mike back to tell him not to come home. There was nothing he could do until we heard from the doctor the next day. The day went slowly. I went to my writing class, my yoga class and then went home and put my pj’s on. I was wiped out.

When the call came the next day, it was the news I expected. The fibroid tumor in my uterus is the size of a small grapefruit. My endometrial lining is thickening because of the Tamoxifen.

I called my oncologist and asked him what the course of action is.

“Nothing. Because if it is not causing pain or bleeding then we don’t do anything.”
“What if it gets bigger?”

“If it gets bigger and starts to cause problems then we do something.”

I am not sure I like this approach. What is it keeps growing and does cause my kidneys to back up? What if it interferes with my digestive system or my ovaries? It just doesn’t seem normal to be walking around with a growth the size of a grapefruit in my body. I hate this wait and see attitude. Why do I have to wait to see if it grows?


Jill said...

I am so sorry you are having to deal with this. I think if it was me I would get a second opinion especially when you are taking Tamoxifen. I don't see how a Doctor can take a wait and see attitude when you have already had cancer.
Please remember it is your body and your health and you have every right to fight for what you believe in.


Jeanne Marren Egan said...

Thanks Jill.
I think you are right. It just isn't normal to have something that big growing inside of you!

Carol said...

So sorry to hear that. I wish I were there to be with you. You know all you have to do is call.
I agree with Jill I would get a second opinion. Keep me updated.
Hugs, Carol

Chez said...

Jeanne, this is so much more than you need right now. I believe you will let your intuitive side help you in the decision making process. A second opinion always helps.
I also had massive uterine fibroids. One was 9cm the other 6cm with smaller ones as well. I chose to leave them as they were not malignant however, I cannot say with absolute certainty, that would be my preferred choice these days. They did shrink when I reached menopause which, unfortunately, was not until I was 57.
Sending love and gratitude. said...

Oh gosh, girl! I know that sinking, heart stopping feeling of fear. I would get another opinion. Perhaps your oncologist could weigh in on this as well.

15 years ago, I had huge fibroids that led to HEAVY bleeding each month, so I elected to have a total hysterectomy and never looked back. When I discovered I was BRCA2+, in hind site, the total hysterectomy was a blessing in disguise.

What ever you decide to do, your mind/body connection is so important to your well being and keeping your immune system strong. In addition to writing and yoga, you might consider finding an expert in Guided Imagery or hypnosis. Other than having a strong faith in God, hypnosis is the single best thing I do for myself.

It allowed me to have a hysterectomy with less anesthesia & no pain meds, helped me through every phase of breast cancer & 2 weeks ago, helped me deal with a crazy man who was trying to kill me. Actually I blogged about this & Guided Imagery 2 weeks ago.


Nancy said...

I am sorry about the loss of your old friend. Also, sorry to hear about the newly discovered growth. I am brand new to your blog so don't feel in a position to voice any opinion, but I don't think I would be comfortable with the wait and see approach either. Only you can decide what is acceptable for you.

Beth L. Gainer said...

I'm sorry you are going through all this, Jeanne. Sometimes doctors don't really understand why a person whose had cancer gets panicky about newly developing medical problems.

I could totally relate to your posting regarding the fears about cancer. I also had gruelling chemotherapy, and my panic really spikes if anything medical is brought up.

I agree with Jill -- it's your body, and you need to follow your instincts, even if that means getting a second, third, or fourth opinion. Keep pursuing what you want.

I'm adding you to my blogroll. I'm sure my readers would want to hear what you have to say.

Jeanne Marren Egan said...

Thanks for your comments. I read your blog about the high speed chase that you endured and I couldn't believe that it really happened. How frightening! I llove the idea of guided imagery. Thanks for sharing.

Jeanne Marren Egan said...

Dear Chez,
You can say that again! Thanks so much for checking in and sharing. It is always helpful to hear other stories. As always, I appreciate your comments and insights.

Jeanne Marren Egan said...

Thanks so much. I will be posting more on this subject later today. Needless to say- I have been a little bit stressed out. You know the feeling!

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